Walking through Loss | Jessica's Story

As part of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month in October, we will be sharing stories of loss from local families. Please know that if you have experienced loss, you are not alone. Please join us at our 3rd Annual Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Family Walk on October 15th to find the support and community you need to walk through your grief. We will be donating all proceeds to local loss groups who provide year round support for area families. A big thank you to Michelle Beckley of Running Circles Photography for her beautiful contribution of this photo series.

This is Jessica and Bradley‘s story.

We have three children. Our two daughters we hold in our arms and a child I only got to hold alive in my womb. When Elizabeth was a year and a half old, we decided to try for another child. I became pregnant on my first cycle and was over the moon. We bought our daughter a big sister shirt and announced to our families. We were ready and excited to expand our family.

The next couple of weeks mirrored my first pregnancy. Morning sickness hit me hard and I was counting down to my first OB appointment. About a week or two before my first appointment, I spotted. I remember being worried for a second and then brushing it off. My morning sickness went away and I was so happy to feel better again that it didn't immediately register with me that something could be wrong. It wasn't until just before my appointment that I began to worry. With my daughter Elizabeth, I was sick until halfway through my pregnancy.

I went to my first appointment with only my toddler. My doctor started the ultrasound and with every question she asked I was filled with more dread. "When was my last period?" "Have I been having morning sickness?" "Have I had any spotting?" She told me the baby was measuring small. She told me she couldn't find a heartbeat. I told her I knew. I went back two days after to verify. I saw my baby again and there was still no heartbeat. I asked for a print out of the ultrasound before leaving. It was all I could think of while I waited for that second appointment. She never gave me one the first time around and I was so scared of not having a picture of my baby to remember them.

I had my miscarriage April 9, 2018. It was painful. It was terrifying. The moment I saw my baby left me numb. I did not expect to see my baby as I did. I did not expect to be able to recognize its features. My doctor talked to me about how to wait for or induce the passing of the baby. No one spoke to me about what to do with my baby after.

We spent that evening and the next running around town while I was still having heavy bleeding looking for everything I needed to bury our baby. We bought a large flower pot and took 30 minutes deciding on the right flowers. I spent hours online personalizing a box that was meant to hold jewelry. On April 10th we buried our baby. I held our baby in my hand and we took pictures to remember. I put our baby in the jewelry box and we buried it under the flowers.

We decided to tell our friends and family about our miscarriage. We shared our ultrasound with everyone. It was hard to announce our pregnancy by announcing our loss but I needed our baby to be acknowledged. We got pregnant with Charlotte on our second cycle after our loss. This was how we grieved and carried on.

Our angel's due date was a hard day but having our rainbow baby growing inside gave me some comfort. The fear of something going wrong and losing another child never goes away though. I felt I could not enjoy my pregnancy fully after our loss. It wasn't until I held our daughter Charlotte in our arms that I felt I could finally breathe again. On the one year anniversary of our miscarriage, we had a one a half month old rainbow baby.

We love our daughters so much. I am so thankful every day for the opportunity to care for them and raise them. Our family is not whole though. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about our loss. I wonder if we would have three little girls in our arms or if we lost a son.